Breedlove died on April 4 at his home in Rio Vista, California. His wife Yadira Breedlove said the cause of death was cancer. Craig Breedlove, who set land-speed records at 400, 500, and 600 mph in jet-powered cars nicknamed the Spirit of America, has died. He was 86. Born on March 23, 1937, Breedlove was a firefighter who also worked as a structural engineering technician in aircraft.
Among his early designs was a three-wheeled missile-shaped vehicle. There is a jet engine and a rear wing; It was more of a fighter plane than a passenger car. The Spirit of America set a new land-speed record on August 5, 1963, at 407 mph at Bonneville in the Spirit of America.
During the golden age of freewheeling in American motorsports in the 1960s, Breedlove battled Tom Green and Art Orphans on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to break each other’s speed records. Breedlove’s final speed record was 600.6 mph in 1965.
He was married six times, his last lasting 20 years. Besides his wife, he has two children from his first marriage, one younger sister, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Breedlove was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1993, the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame in 1995, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2009.
During Ebreedlove’s record-breaking run, he lost his brakes and his parachute. After failing to stop for more than a mile, his car crashed into a telephone pole before landing in a salt pond. Breedlove survived unharmed. Breedlove attempted to break the land-speed record of 633 mph in 1996. He crashed and had to abandon the attempt.
He is an American hero to some and is even immortalized in the Beach Boys’ song Spirit of America, which depicts him as a brave young man who plays a dangerous game.